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Zelda_fan
12-12-06, 02:46 PM
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

I thought for a very long time how I was going to review this game. I decided that I should score it at the beginning so you (the readers) can concentrate on the review's content unhindered. So if you are looking for a simple number, then you might as well stop reading right here because it gets a 10. The game is an absolute masterpiece, superior to any Zelda before it, and there is no other score I can even think of giving. However, if you are deciding on whether or not this game is worth your time, read on for a spoiler free review of gameplay, graphics, presentation, etc.



Controls

There was a lot of debate amongst the Zelda community as to weather or not the Wii-mote controls brought the game down. I'm happy to report that not only is this not the case, but controlling Link via the Wii-mote is superior to a standard controller in every way, shape, and form.

To use the sword you simply flick the Wii-mote. Large arm movements are not necessary, a simple flick of the wrist will do, yet surprisingly, this adds an amazing amount of immersion to the game. Even though the sword to Wiimote mapping isn't 1:1, you literally feel connected to the sword via the controller which provides for great fun.

Camera control is done via Z-targeting and is basically the same as in the ocarina of time, which is fine with me because in my opinion Z-targeting works perfect and there is really no need to change. Just to give you an example: there are times in the game where you are flanked with enemies on every side. You hold the Z button down throughout the entire battle, and immediately after you kill one enemy the focus goes to the next enemy and the camera shifts to face that direction almost intuitively.

Where the game controls really shine, however, is in the aiming of the slingshot, bow, and other various brand-new ranged items that I'm not going to spoil. You simply point the Wii-mote at the area of the screen you want to aim at and it maps it to an onscreen red reticule. There is a slight learning curve associated with aiming this way, but once you get it down pat (which doesn't take too long) you get an amazing amount of speed and precision that just wasn't present in previous Zelda games.


Graphics

This game was designed to be rendered on a gamecube, so the resolution is 480p and the textures are not high rez. That being said, the graphics look amazing and put a lot of 2nd tier XBOX 360 games to shame (superman returns comes to mind for example).

The actual geometry of the models are beautiful, and do not need to be changed at all. Not only that, but this game has the best looking implementation of HDR I've ever seen in a game, period. Nothing is too bright, but it accents parts of the world just right.

The reflections in the water are also quite impressive for a game-cube class game. In my opinion, they look just as good (if not better) than what is in Oblivion - the main difference is that Oblivion is rendered at a higher resolution. If you don't believe me go to either Lake Hylia or the fishing hole - simply beautiful.

The world and characters have a really polished look and feel, and even though it isn't in HD, there isn't much I can say other than the graphics work quite well in spite of that. Once you get into the game, you really don't even pay attention to the graphics.

There are some jaggies in the game, but if you sit 5 feet away from the TV you don't even notice them. This game was designed to be played 5 feet away from a television and if you play it like that, it will look just fine.


Story

All I can say is WOW, Nintendo really outdid themselves on this one. The story is more epic and captivating than I ever hoped for. Just when you think you know what is going on there are plot turns and twists at every corner. The story is in the same league as Ocarina of Time and Link's Awakening - I really can't decide which on is "better" because its like comparing three masterpieces. They are all perfect in their own right. There is really nothing more I can say about the story other than it is epic in scale and you'll love it.

The story is also presented in a different fashion that previous Zelda games. This game makes heavy use of cinematic cut scenes, and it works very well. I hope Nintendo continues and explores this technique further in future Zelda games.


Music and Sound

Zelda games typically feature some of the best soundtracks in gaming, and Twilight Princess is no different in this regard. There are a lot of classic tracks that are remixed, and there is a lot of brand new stuff as well. All of it top notch.

Sound effects are done very well. An interesting new effect, is that the Wii-mote's speaker is used to give your hand the feel that their is actually a weapon in it. For example, when you swing your sword a "slashing" sound comes of the the Wii-mote speaker, and when you pull your bowstring back a "bow tightening" sound comes out of the speaker. This is a pretty simple effect, but it surprisingly adds a lot of immersion to the game.

I saw some reviews come down hard on this game because it did not have an orchestrated soundtrack or full voice over dialogs. I would like to address those points right here. Let's get one thing straight: Link is a silent hero, and adding voice dialog would be an outright mistake. As far as the rest of the characters go, voice overs would be great IF AND ONLY IF the voice acting was of a very high quality. ****ty voice acting would simply ruin the game, and 99.99% of voice acting in video games today are pure unadulterated horse ****. I would rather read the text myself and imagine what it sounds like, rather than have some dumbass idiot who can't act **** the game up. With Zelda, its either top notch polish, or they simply don't include it and I stand behind Nintendo's decision 100%.

As far as an orchestrated soundtrack, sure, don't get me wrong, I'd love to play Zelda with a full orchestra blaring behind me, but game's music works perfectly in it's own right, so why complain? I would love to hear the music in orchestrated form, but it wouldn't necessarily be "better" than what is currently in the game.

Puzzles, Dungeons, and Boss Fights

This is where the real meat and potatoes of the game lie, and boy, does Twilight Princess deliver. The dungeons are not only massive in scale, but they are of the highest quality I've ever seen in a Zelda game. The puzzles are very intricate and use a lot of brand new gameplay mechanics I've never seen before. At the same time, they are not overly complex to the point of frustration. I would say that the puzzles are almost of the verge of being too easy, but Nintendo really struck a good balance as far as difficulty is concerned. There were maybe only one of two points in the game where I felt frustrated.

The boss fights are the most fun I've had in gaming, especially one or two of them. I really REALLY want to give out some spoilers here, but I will refrain from doing so. Just trust me when I say that a couple of the boss fights are literally out of this world, and are un-like anything you've ever seen in a game before. Not only that, but the final battle (and I mean the absolute FINAL battle) is the pinnacle of Zelda combat, and is what the Legend of Zelda is all about.

Extras and sidequests
The game is big. It took me 50 hours to beat the main quest, and I had partially done some of the side quests. I imagine, that you could burn through the main quest in 35 hours, but you are really depriving yourself if that is all you do. One cool thing they've included is a massive 50 floor dungeon. If I had any beef about the difficulty being too easy, it went right out the window in this dungeon. The last few fight are insanely hard, and push the limits of your combat and control. When you beat them, though, it is a ton of fun, and you get a great feeling of accomplishment.

Something else cool that they included was "Hidden Skills." One of them you have to get during the main quest, but the other 6 are completely optional. They are a set of "additional" moves that Link can preform, and let me tell you, they kick some royal ass. They are choreographed beautifully, and when there are times during the game where you will have what I call a "Zelda moment." A combat situation so awesome that you will literally sit back and say "hell yeah."

Then of course there are the sidequests to upgrade link's armor, hearts, and inventory. They are actually a lot of fun, and more in depth that you would think. The game world is immense, and without the aid of a walkthrough, I'd imagine it would take 80-100 hours to find all the stuff there is to find.

Closing Comments

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but what an end with Zelda Twilight Princess! As with all Zelda games, the game ends beautifully. You can't help but feel a little sad... not just because you are connected to the characters and the decisions they make at the end, but because you know a game like this comes once a decade, and it will be a long time before a game of this mastery enters the market. Well done Nintendo! Nobody does it better.

10/10

Zelda_fan
12-12-06, 02:47 PM
The Future of Zelda

So I decided to tack on a section dedicated to what the future of Zelda holds. Was Twilight Princess a masterpiece? Yes, but by no means is their nothing Nintendo can do to improve the series. First and foremost, I want the next Zelda to have 1:1 sword mapping with the Wii-mote. They gave us a taste of how awesome it would be in Twilight Princess, and now I want the real deal.

Obviously, I'd like to see the texture resolution and overall graphics amped up a bit, but that will come with time as Nintendo explores the power of the Wii a bit more.

rek075
12-12-06, 02:48 PM
Great review.

On another note, I just got the Gamecube version today. :)

Ninjaman09
12-12-06, 03:04 PM
Agreed completely, the game is a masterpiece and outdoes its predecessors easily. My only complaint would be the relative ease of some of the boss encounters but that might just be me being too uber.

Zelda_fan
12-12-06, 03:13 PM
Agreed completely, the game is a masterpiece and outdoes its predecessors easily. My only complaint would be the relative ease of some of the boss encounters but that might just be me being too uber.

Yeah, I know what you are saying, and I felt the same way. However, I'm basically a master Zelda player, so I can understand that what is easy for me might be frustrating for others. However, the last few encounters in the cave of ordeals were VERY VERY difficult. To give you an idea, I went in with full health, and 4 bottled fairies. I came out with no fairies and a quarter of a heart. Literally one hit from dieing. Let me tell you that last battle was intense as hell.